John Outram

BookJohn Outram
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This is the first major study of John Outram, whose decorative yet elemental architecture has captured the popular imagination. Outram launched his own architectural practice in 1974, soon securing a reputation for innovative, creative and monumental buildings. Their brilliant colours and exuberant gestures earned him a reputation as a post-modernist, but this book explores their deeper background in architectural history, metaphysics and mythology.
In addition to the major buildings – including The New House at Wadhurst, the Isle of Dogs Pumping Station and the Judge Institute – the book examines unrealised projects, including Bracken House and Ludgate in the City of London. Running through them all is a storytelling approach that draws upon the mythologies and architectures of the ancient world. This book shows how Outram’s work reconciles iconography with a creative approach to building technology, posing questions about the recovery of architecture’s traditional role of communicating shared values.
Geraint Franklin draws on interviews and archival research to shed new light on this important architect. Richly illustrated with previously unpublished images from the practice archive and stunning new photography, the book will delight architects, students and anyone interested in learning more about this significant figure in late 20th century architecture.

‘Excellent… Franklin is a perceptive author’.
Hugh Pearman, RIBA Journal

'This new publication from the Twentieth Century Society by historian Geraint Franklin is especially welcome. […] John Outram is that rare thing, a British architect who has developed a coherent theoretical position alongside a compelling formal language. Geraint Franklin’s book is an excellent dissection of both. The author is clearly enthused by the work but he is never hagiographic. He describes the buildings in ways that are enjoyable and accessible without ever being simplistic. The richness of the architecture and the idiosyncratic nature of Outram’s oeuvre is challenging but Franklin does the work full justice. It is an excellent addition to the Twentieth Century Society series, expanding its remit to include the work of a brilliant, impossible to categorise, architect.'
Charles Holland, Architecture Today

'Excellent and overdue'
Anthony Paletta, The Architects' Newspaper

'This is the first major study of Outram’s practice. Geraint Franklin... is the ideal guide. The result is a revelation. Just like an archaeologist or antiquary, Franklin strips away the layers of meaning in Outram’s work, revealing powerful, mythopoeic impulses.'
William Whyte, The Antiquaries Journal

‘Franklin’s book is a brilliant compendium of Outram’s work, both built and unbuilt… an essential book for anyone looking to understand Outram's art.’
Tony McIntyre, Building Design

Author Information

Geraint Franklin is an architectural historian with Historic England.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
1 Source21
2 Clearing39
3 Confluence47
4 Tower73
5 City / Fields99
6 Crossing123
7 Delta153
8 Horizon167
List of works179
Further reading186
The Twentieth Century Society188
Other titles in the series189
Illustration credits191